OTTAWA — Atletico Ottawa has named Spain's Carlos Gonzalez its new coach on a two-year contact.
The 35-year-old succeeds fellow Spaniard Mista, the Canadian Premier League team's inaugural coach whose full name is Miguel Angel Ferrer Martinez. Mista's contract expired at the end of 2021. Atletico, which is owned by Spain's Atletico Madrid, said at the time that the two sides had "agreed not to enter into a new agreement."
Gonzalez began coaching in the youth program at the Malaga Club de Futbol in 2012, before joining Atletico de Madrid in 2015. He coached youth programs at Atletico, taking over the under-19 team in 2018.
“Carlos has been part of the Atletico system for more than five years, so he perfectly knows the philosophy of the club and what we are trying to achieve here in Canada,” Atletico Ottawa CEO Fernando Lopez said in a statement. “He represents our values, our winning mentality, the effort, the passion, the love for the game, the Atletico fighting spirit and never surrender.
"I know he will instil this in our players. And despite his young age, he has a solid experience as a coach, for a club but also internationally.”
In 2020, Gonzalez was named head coach of the Kuwait under-23 team, leading it to its first Asian Cup qualification in 10 years. He also coached the senior national team in three AFC Cup matches, posting two wins and a draw.
“At this point in my career, I wanted to come back to club football,” Gonzalez said. “Coaching a national team is very different from club football. You have to be very precise with player selection and always make sure you get the most of them for each moment. You do not get to work with them as much.
"Working with a club, you have time to prepare and build the team with a specific idea. And more importantly, you can develop players, which is what I missed most.”
Ottawa was last in the eight-team league last season at 6-14-8. It finished seventh in the first stage of the Island Games, which served as the league's truncated 2020 season.
David Galan will serve as assistant coach and physical preparation lead, while Borja Montero will serve as goalkeeper coach. Both men were part of Gonzalez's staff while in Kuwait.
Atletico Ottawa flies to Spain on Saturday to start pre-season training Monday.
Ottawa opens regular season on April 9 against visiting Cavalry FC.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2022
The Canadian Press